CEA What's Growing: The Controlled Environment Agriculture Production Ecosystem in Appalachian Kentucky ARC

Grants and Contracts Details


CEA What’s Growing: the controlled environment agriculture production ecosystem in Appalachian Kentucky will serve prospective and established produce and ornamental crop growers across the 54 coal-impacted counties of Appalachia Kentucky. Project partners include state, regional, local, and private stakeholders in a geography with a rapidly expanding agritech industry cluster. This project will advance entrepreneurial capabilities, increase economic opportunities, and develop a competitive, career-ready workforce in communities with unemployed and underemployed residents. Project objectives will be achieved through direct technical assistance to build diverse and resilient products and markets, entrepreneurial educational resource development and training, business and marketing planning support for prospective, small and mid-sized businesses, and an industry internship program to build worker capabilities to amplify growth across varying scales of operations. Project objectives include: • Effectively serve current and prospective controlled environment production system growers within the Appalachian Kentucky project area including 40 educational greenhouses and 239 commercial controlled environment operations; • Improve resiliency and economic conditions of 145 controlled environment operations through technical assistance to optimize production and expand operations to retain 250 jobs and create 25 new jobs; • Assist current and prospective controlled environment operations to develop 12 business plans and establish operations creating 12 new businesses supporting 10 new jobs; • Leverage private partnerships to provide on-site job training and employment opportunities for 90 interns; and, • Reach 75,000 consumers and improve 2,000 participants’ knowledge of Kentucky grown ornamental and food products. Key project partners include the Henderson Settlement School, the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, and the University of Kentucky departments of Horticulture, Plant Pathology, and Agricultural Economics. Other project partners include AppHarvest, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Fresh Harvest, the Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association, the Kentucky Society for Horticultural Science, the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association, US Bureau of Federal Prisons (Manchester), and Wilson’s Cedar Point Farm. Scope of Work KHC proposes a detailed work plan of activities and tasks to achieve the project goals and improve the overall economic conditions of rural entrepreneurs using controlled environment systems to grow produce and ornamentals in Appalachian Kentucky. This project promotes sustainable economic development through direct contact with current and prospective entrepreneurs in the project area by providing technical assistance, critical investments in their operations, and developing a highly qualified, diverse workforce. KHC is committed to providing science-based, technical assistance to growers at all scales to increase their yields, product quality, production efficiencies, and competitiveness in local and regional markets and facilitating educational opportunities and workforce development for rural entrepreneurs in Kentucky. KHC’s proposed work plan includes the following activities: 1. Support Entrepreneurs to Build Diverse and Resilient Controlled Environment Agriculture Products and Markets 2. Entrepreneurial Education for the Controlled Environment Agriculture Industry 3. Controlled Environment Agriculture Internship Program for Workforce Development 4. Administer project activities
Effective start/end date10/1/227/15/25


  • Kentucky Horticulture Council


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